CHAPTER 19: ANTIPAS AND AGRIPPA
Men are moved by two levers only: fear and self-interest.
King Herod Agrippa had come to Jerusalem to purchase some last minute provisions for his forthcoming journey (provisions which could not be found in Beersheba or at least not for a reasonable price.) As he was starting the journey back, a thought struck him. Why not pay a call on his dear uncle, Antipas and find out for himself what the old rascal is up to? He had heard many things about his uncle most of which he had assumed to be true. But it might not hurt to stop and have a chat with this relative which he so despised--just to see for himself where he stands on certain matters. Thus, he steered his horse toward the Jerusalem palace.
Once again the strange-looking black and white carriage pulled up to the front of the palace and Manaheem dismounted. He had decided to pay another visit to Herod to try to persuade him further of the truth regarding Jesus. As he swung open the bedchamber door, Herod and Herodias were locked in an embrace. Herod broke free and looked up startled. "Oh, it's you, Manaheem. Changed your mind about collecting the rest of the money, eh?"
"No," sighed Manaheem, “I told you to forget it, didn't I? No, I just thought I might try again to persuade you as to the truth about Jesus."
Herod and Herodias both laughed big laughs and Herod scowled: "Oh, you are the persistent one, aren't you? Well, go ahead. I’d like to hear what you have to say. What other ridiculous story have you come up with now?"
Manaheem sighed again and began. "What I’m telling you is not stories, brother dear, but facts. Were you aware that Jesus was seen by over 500 people after he arose from the dead?"
"Really? And where are all these people? Who are they?--followers of his who have schemed to lie about it? Send me just 10 of them and I shall see how long their stories hold up under my scrutiny."
Manaheem took a deep breath and was about to answer when a loud knock was heard at the door.
Herod winced. “I wonder who that could be."
Linus the servant also heard the knock and went to answer it. He opened the door to reveal the form of Herod Agrippa. Herod Antipas sighed and said sarcastically, "Ah, my favorite nephew, Agrippa! Long time, no see. How have you been, nephew dear?"
"As well as could be expected" came the deliberate reply. "And how are you and your lovely bride?" he asked, nodding to Herodias.
"We are fine," she replied, speaking for the two of them.
"And what brings you here?" asked Herod sarcastically, "I’m sure it wasn't simply to see your favorite uncle."
"Well, as a matter of fact, I happened to be in the area on business and thought I’d stop in on my way back and see how you were doing before my departure."
"Yes, I’m going back to Beersheba in the morning and then leaving for Rome on the next ship."
"So, you came to spy on me--to see if there was something you could report against me to Caesar."
Agrippa smiled sarcastically and replied: "Now, why would I want to do that? You are still my uncle, aren't you? Anyway, I don't know the old goat that well and he probably wouldn't listen to me anyway." Then, spying Manaheem, he said, "Oh, hello again. Manaham, isn't it?"
"It's Manaheem. How have you been?"
“I’ve actually been much better since your visit."
Herod coughed. "Oh yes, you have met my foster-brother, Manaheem--well, he's come to try to persuade me to become a Jesus follower. What do you think of that?"
Agrippa laughed. “I think it a rather bold attempt, as it would certainly take a near miracle to change you, uncle dear."
"And just what do you mean by that?"
“I mean that you are a lazy no good bum and rotten to the core!"
Herod winced. "Well! Manaheem told me of your disdain for me, but I didn't think it went that deep. How dare you insult your king so!"
"King! Yes, you sit on your throne and rule as king, but what kingly duties do you actually carry out? From what I hear, you're too busy making love to your brother's wife to concentrate on civic matters. Maybe if you behaved more like a king, you would earn more respect from your subjects. You were right, you know. I was thinking of reporting you. I already have enough things to tell the old man--and yet some more wouldn't hurt."
Herod coughed again. "How dare you! You young whippersnapper! You're a fair-haired novice who knows nothing about the affairs of state! You brazen upstart!"
"Oh yeah? I’ll show you who knows what! As I said, I’m leaving for Rome on the next ship out. Now I shall make it a priority--yes, one of my first actions upon arrival shall be to report your lax behavior and attitude to my dear friend, Caligula who will be the next emperor of Rome. Then we'll see what's what. I may end up taking your place after all."
Herod frowned. "You wouldn't dare."
"Oh, wouldn't I?” He walked briskly to the door and opened it.
"Anyway," yelled Herod to Agrippa who was still standing with his hand on the doorknob, "that Caligula is a crazy upstart. He's worse than you. He'll never make emperor."
"That's what you think," h e retorted. "Just you wait and see." With that, he left.
Manaheem smiled. "Well, what an interesting state of affairs this is, brother dear."
Herod's crown was in his hand. "Oh, I’m not worried, Manaheem. Caligula won't take him seriously. He's just a kid with a head full of big ideas."
“I hope you're right, brother dear. In the meantime, won't you reconsider what I was saying about Jesus?"
"I’ll think about it, Manaheem. Now, unless there's something else, we'd like to be alone."
"Of course, brother dear. Enjoy your new wife while you can, for tomorrow you may die."
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